Media lobby group slams police

2011-02-05 14:32

Johannesburg - Police do not know and understand their own regulations, the Professional Journalists' Association, ProJourn, said on Saturday.

The association was responding to an attack on a Pretoria News photographer, Masi Losi, on Friday by police when he took pictures of them arresting a suspected thief.

"This incident serves as a painful reminder that the police do not understand their own regulations (to whit, Standing Order 156) in this regard, let alone the law governing media coverage of crime," ProJourn said in a statement.

The association said what made the incident even more unfortunate was that it came in the wake of a week of attacks on and intimidation of journalists in Egypt, where civil unrest broke out.

It further said it was unacceptable that the incident happened within months of discussions with the police on the issue of police obstructing journalists in performing their duties.


"It is not acceptable that, within months of serious discussions between the media and the SAP (SA Police) on this exact issue, members of the SAP yet again try to obstruct journalists in the course of carrying out their duties.

"Commitments have been made by senior police officials that they will stop incidents of this sort, and we can only believe, given these events, that these commitments have been lightly made and not followed through."

ProJourn welcomed Gauteng provincial police commissioner, Mzwandile Petros' apology to Pretoria News. It also called on him to make sure the matter was is investigated swiftly.

Losi has laid charges against the policemen who attacked him.

According to Standing Order 156 of the Police regulations, police may under no circumstances, verbally or physically, abuse journalists and no cameras or any other equipment may be seized, unless it is to be an exhibit in court.

Police may also not wilfully damage the camera, film or recording or other equipment of a journalist.

  • briansmith702 - 2011-02-05 15:04

    What else do you expect when Zuma appoints a cadre fool at the head??? Get real.

      lldoidge - 2011-02-05 16:22

      With Petros at the helm nothing will change. His Cape Town police illigally arrested and assaulted my son and nothing happened. Try suing them and you will quickly find out how they close ranks and drag the case out for years, leaving you with huge legal bills and exhausted until you give up. They are a law unto themselves!

  • BernieK - 2011-02-05 15:18

    I expected this to happen at some time. The police state is here and the vice grip is starting to get tighter. What is next? Journalists getting abducted? Tortured? Murdered? This is the real ANC. They are in power, they are allowing this to happen. It is them.

  • Mister A - 2011-02-05 15:35

    I think the media should start to publicise some of the regulations regarding the authority of police. A booklet once a week - like they do with the school material for high school learners - and in it they can indicate what police may and may not do in certain situations. Are you reading this Independent Media?

  • Skottie - 2011-02-05 15:56

    Cele has to take responsibilty for police actions. He was the one that said that the police force is ready and well equipt. If this was the case then people of this country dont have to be afraid of the police but would respect the police. Asked any SA and more than 50% will comment how useless and incompenant they are.

  • BigMoose - 2011-02-05 16:16

    The Media Bill is coming! Freedom of speech will soon be a thing of the past.

  • rapatla - 2011-02-05 16:18

    " police obstructing journalists in performing their duties".Since when is making a movie out of an arrest a duty for the journalist?What if the journo was obstructing the police on taking photos like it was a photo shoot? Get real people or go to the nearest heaven.

      manny8171 - 2011-02-05 16:56

      "Making a movie"? huh, they are recording an event, as all journalists do. How does that "obstruct" the police except to stop them recording the police abusing their power. Rapatla get your head out of Cele' ass.

      Umfubi - 2011-02-05 18:38

      Funny, I thought that is exactly what represents 'a duty for the journalist'. Aren't they supposed to report what is going on?

  • Madelane - 2011-02-05 16:35

    "Police do not know and understand their own regulations" Gee you have only noticed this now? Since when do the police actually have to have any understanding of the law? (with exceptions of course)

  • So What? - 2011-02-05 17:17

    Ah Raptala, the wisdom that emanates from you! I presume your wisdom will also dictate that the journalist who photographed the abuse of his fellow journalist is also obstructing the course of duty. My my my, maybe you should also do a bit of research on civl, criminal and regulations that apply to the Police and then you would not make such wise remarks. A robber was beaten up by the public, an arrest was taking place and you say by taking photos he was obstructing the police. LMAO.

  • Viparo - 2011-02-05 17:44

    Editor - could you guys Please stop using "Slams" in almost every title?

  • Umfubi - 2011-02-05 18:32

    "This incident serves as a painful reminder that the police do not understand their own regulations (to whit, Standing Order 156)... etc To WHIT?? Dammit, News24, get your sub-editors sorted out.

      Bill - 2011-02-05 21:23

      Umfubi - "Whit" is a word! Used mainly in legal jargon! Check your dictionary before you make an ass of yourself

      Umfubi - 2011-02-06 00:26

      No, Bill. The word is WIT, not WHIT. Whit means something different. I guess I'll check back later to see if you have the balls to apologise.

  • coolwaynie - 2011-02-05 19:48

    This I know for a fact. Take my advice, if the plods at your nearest copshop refuse to or do not know how to help you, go to the SAPF website and phone Pretoria Head has remarkable results...

  • Rick - 2011-02-05 22:45

    SAPS are nothing more than a government sanctioned gang. They are 100% corrupt, just like out government.

      Valkerie - 2011-02-06 10:39

      Rick, I know that we're all getting aggrivated by reports like these, but I have to implore you not to generalise! I have family and friends in the police force, and they're breaking their backs to keep us safe within a corrupt and rotting police force leadership. Please save some thought for those that truly see it as a vocation. We need to support those police officers, and root out the corrupt scum only.

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